I was checking out a few things on my blog today, and I came across my WordPress Post Notification administration page. “Hmm,” I said. “I seem to have misconfigured this.” No e-mail had been sent out since August 2009. I figured out that the configuration directory didn’t have write permissions, enabled it, and went on with the rest of my day.
In the evening, I checked my personal mail on my iPod Touch. Inbox…
323 unread messages. That wasn’t right. I read the e-mail subjects. Holy cow, my blog had sent out every single one of my posts in the past half-year.
Granted, the only people on the list had double-opted-in, but still. I’d be annoyed if that many messages showed up in my inbox too, instead of one at a time.
First step: Control the damage. I moved post-notification out of the way, automatically disabling the plugin.
Second: Figure out the impact. 50 e-mail addresses left. Two nasty-notes.
Third: Gingerly re-enable the plugin after removing the locking directory.
Fourth: E-mail everyone an apology.
Fifth: Write about what happened. Tradeoff: Personal embarrassment versus possibility of saving other people from doing this kind of stuff. Worth it.
Looking at the bright side (because there always is a bright side)… At least I’m learning this now instead of later. And with my blog instead of a customer site. And with a smaller list instead of a megafan community. And… umm… it’s e-mail instead of text messages. Which has happened before. I was writing a Perl script that sent messages, and I had a bug, and there was an infinite loop, and poof! there went the balance on my prepaid card.